One tip I always try to highlight at My Little Bookcase is that connecting with a book is highly valuable in the process of learning to read. Whenever possible, always give your child an experience that mirrors those in the book you are reading. It can increase your child’s interest in a range of topics, they will be more likely to return to the book and it makes the newly acquired vocabulary meaningful.
In my home recently, we’ve been incredibly inspired by the beautiful books we have been reading about trees, and by the ideas Caroline Roberts (Gardening4Kids) and Caro Webster (Small Fry: Outdoors) have shared with us all.
Melbourne was blessed with a few days of sunshine, so we decided to head outdoors on our own search to discover the beauty of leaves…..And what did we discover?
Books that inspired us:
From Left to Right:
1. The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
2. Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt Children’s Books)
3. My Little World by Julia Cooke and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall (Scholastic)
We learned where we could find leaves. Although we talked about The Little Yellow Leaf and the importance of collecting trees that had already fallen to the ground, Cam’s toddler-curiosity sometimes got the better of her and she was drawn to the leaves still attached to the plants.
We learned that leaves come in all shapes, sizes and colours. With our box of leaves, we just sat together and looked at each leaf one at a time. We smelled them, we touched them and we described them. What a fantastic way to develop a child’s vocabulary too!
- Sometimes we described a leaf’s colour: green, purple, brown
- Sometimes we described a leaf’s shape: heart, star
- Sometimes we described what objects we thought a leaf looked like: umbrella, wand
- Sometimes we described the way a leaf felt: furry, juicy
- Sometimes we described the sound a leaf made in our hands: crunchy
- Sometimes we described the way a leaf looked: shiny, spotty, long
The leaves sat in a cardboard box on our activity table for a few days. During those days, Cam was drawn to them a number of times and we’d try something new with the leaves:
We made our own pictures using the leaves (This idea from Small Fry: Outdoors)
We painted with the leaves
We learned that leaves have unique patterns. We started by laying the leaf on our paper and sponging paint around the leaves to create stencil-type images. As the leaves became saturated in paint we found ourselves using the leaves as painting tools.
We created a hide a seek tree
We found lots of little creatures hiding under the leaves. We drew the skeleton of a tree (This idea from Small Fry: Outdoors) and sticky-taped (this allows you to lift the leaf) a range of leaves to it. We searched for pictures of mini- beasts in newspapers and magazines but eventually headed to the internet.
We took it in turns to hide a mini-beast under a leaf, while the other one tried to guess where the mini-beast was hiding.
Will you be doing anything interesting or inspiring for National Tree Day?
You might be interested in these fantastic and simple activities that also celebrate the value of trees.